Upazila chairmen, VCs announce 2-day agitationStaff Correspondent
The chairmen and vice-chairmen of more than 450 upazila parishads announced Saturday a two-day countrywide agitation programme to press home their demand for turning ‘ineffective’ upazila parishads into effective ones.
They would form human chains in all district headquarters on January 22 to push for their five-point set of demands including ‘full implementation’ of the upazila parishad law and hold rallies and processions on February 1 to drum up support for their movement.
They also plan to announce their next action programmes from a press conference on February 2.
Their demands include handing over the budgets of 17 divisions of 13 ministries to upazila parishads, liquidating all committees formed under the 17 divisions to empower the local government body, and formulation of a ‘charter of duties’ for the lawmakers, who are advisers to upazila parishads, by amending the article 25 of the upazila parishad law ‘in line with the constitution’.
The agitation programme was announced at the convention of several hundred upazila chairmen and vice-chairmen at the city’s BMA auditorium with Upazila Parishad Association of Bangladesh president Foyzur Rahman Fakir in the chair.
Although local government minister Syed Ashraful Islam was invited to attend the convention as the chief guest, no one from the government or the ruling Awami League attended the function.
Most of the local government representatives addressing the convention said the upazila parishad had turned out to be a ‘good for nothing’ body due to non-implementation of the upazila parishal law.
They also criticised the local government minister for not turning up at the convention.
They termed the upazila parishad law a good one but alleged that it had not been implemented, for which the local government body had turned out to be good for nothing.
Some of the upazila chairmen smelt a rat at the Election Commission’s plan to hold the upazila parishad elections before the next parliamentary polls. They asked the EC to hold the upazila polls after holding of the next general elections.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal executive president Mainuddin Khan Badal, MP, in his address to the convention asked the authorities concerned to implement the upazila act. At the same time, he asked the upazila chairmen and vice-chairmen to continue with their movement to press home their demands.
‘You see, nothing can be achieved overnight. You should continue with your movement to realize your demands,’ said Badal. He also expressed the hope that the next government would meet their demands.
He was of the opinion that there was no alternative to decentralisation of power for a firmer institution of democracy in the country.
In his speech, Workers Party of Bangladesh politburo member Fazle Hossain Badsha extended his support to the demands and asked the upazila chairmen and vice-chairmen to raise their demands before those who would form the next government.
Badsha, also a lawmaker of the ruling Awami League-led alliance, said the present parliament had ‘failed to be a truly representative one’. ‘And that is why,’ he added, ‘your demands are not being fulfilled by this parliament.’
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Muzahidul Islam Selim, Nagarik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal general secretary Kholiquzzaman, and Democratic Left Alliance coordinator Zunayed Saki also spoke, among others, on the occasion.
All of them emphasised strengthening the local government system to fortify the democratic process as well as to empower the people.
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